Thursday, November 20, 2014

Trigger Hippy at the Gramercy Theatre

Jackie Greene & Joan Osborne
On break from the Black Crowes, drummer Steve Gorman was jamming with an old friend, bassist Nick Govrik, in Nashville, Tennesee. They had jammed many times before, but this time it felt like the beginnings of a band. They collected a few musicians and Trigger Hippy made its live debut in 2009. Several combinations later, Trigger Hippy became an Americana supergroup with three additional known quantities: vocalist Joan Osborne, guitarist/keyboardist Jackie Greene and guitarist Tom Bukovac. Trigger Hippy's self-titled debut album was released on September 30, 2014.

Trigger Hippy performed as a well-credentialed roots-rock powerhouse at the Gramercy Theatre tonight. Opening with the "Turpentine," the quintet played a rousing set of gritty guitar-infused rock wrapped in sublime country blues vocal harmonies and a rich, soulful texture steeped in earthy Americana roots. Greene and Osborne often traded strong vocal leads on the verses and then harmonized on the choruses. Whether a song veered more towards blues or rock, it all sounded organically southern. Once the musicians started jamming, a song could last 10 minutes. Most of the set was comprised of original songs from Trigger Hippy's debut album, plus covers of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," Don Bryant's "99 Pounds," Delaney & Bonnie's "When the Battle Is Over" and an encore of the Beatles' "Don't Bring Me Down." The result was an honest, classic, vintage package. Supergroups sometimes fail to meet their potential, but this collective of seasoned musicians was greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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